Duffield Sparks Tech at Red Raider Open

JaCorian Duffield cleared a school record and world Top-10 mark of 2.27-meters (7'-5.25").

May 3, 2014

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LUBBOCK, Texas - In the midst of a season defined by consistent record-breaking high jump performances, JaCorian Duffield wasted little time setting the tone for Texas Tech at its annual Red Raider Open Saturday.    

The reigning indoor All-American put on a show at the Fuller Track and Field Complex where he soared up and over a bar at 2.27-meters (7-feet 5.25 inches) on his first attempt at the height. The jump came after already breaking his school and facility record with a clearance of 2.24 (7-4.25), and propelled the Schertz, Texas native to No. 2 on the NCAA performance list and No. 8 in the current IAAF World Rankings. 

"This time of the year you definitely want to be moving in the right direction," Texas Tech high jump coach James Thomas said. "He got to see two of the highest bars of his lifetime and he cleared them, so it's an incredible time of the year to be doing that. Hopefully we can get that going even further throughout the season."

Duffield's performance was the first of two school records to fall Saturday in the final home outdoor meet before Texas Tech hosts the Big 12 Championships May 16-18.

"The day turned out to be exactly what I wanted for our last tune up for the Big 12 Championships," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said.

Shortly after Duffield's school record jump, junior Red Raider sprinter Trevor Mackey went on to break a 24-year-old school record in the 200-meter dash where he crossed the finish line in just 20.47 seconds. The record came after finishing second, and first among collegians, in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.21 seconds - the fastest by a Red Raider in the event in nine years.

"We had some incredible performances," Kittley said. "From JaCorian Duffield, [to] Kole Weldon in the discus, to Trevor Mackey in the 200-meters. I feel like we really gained a lot of confidence today."

Mackey broke the previous school record time of 20.52 seconds set in 1990 by David Shepard, while earlier in Saturday's competition Kole Weldon won the men's discus with a career-best throw of 62.05-meters (203'-7"), which now leads the Big 12 . Weldon edged out 2012 U.S. Olympian and former Red Raider Jason Young who finished second with a throw of 201-10.

Weldon's throw is now No. 3 on the all-time Texas Tech performance list and the best by a Red Raider in the event since 2011. He also won the shot put with a throw of 18.88-meters (61'-11.50")

Meanwhile, the Lady Raiders turned in a strong showing in the horizontal jumps early Saturday led by sophomore Gionna Jackson who took the Big 12 lead in the triple jump with a career-best leap of 12.94-meters (42'-5.50"). She won the event and also moves to No. 2 on the all-time Texas Tech performance list.

Meanwhile, Le'Tristan Pledger went an outdoor career-best 6.32-meters (20'-9.00") in the long jump - a mark that puts her at No. 13 nationally and No. 3 in the Big 12. She was followed by teammate Shanice Stewart in second who went a season-best 6.26-meters (20'-6.50").

The Lady Raiders also impressed in the 4x100 relay, their first showing of the season in the event, where they finished second in 44.45 seconds. The squad, consisting of Cierra White, Amoy Blake, Le'Tristan Pledger and Shanice Stewart, moves into second in the Big 12 with the performance.

Pledger went on to win the women's 100-meter hurdles, her fourth win of the season in the event, with a season-best time of 13.07 seconds. A 2.5 meters-per-second tailwind disqualified her from breaking her own school record with the time.

Shujaa Benson followed by matching his season-best in the men's 110-meter hurdles crossing the finish line first in 13.85 seconds.

Senior Dwayne Extol won the men's 400-meter hurdles with a new career-best time of 51.26 seconds to move into No. 3 in the Big 12 in the event.

Meanwhile, Lady Raider Montenae Roye-Speight won the women's 400-meter dash in a new career-best time of 52.85 seconds to move up to No. 8 in the Big 12 in the event. She was followed by teammate Amoy Blake who finished third in a career-best time of 53.35 seconds - good for No. 10 in the Big 12.

In the men's horizontal jumps, Jerome Wilson and Benson went 1-2 in the long jump. Wilson won the event with a best leap of 7.43-meters (24'-4.50"), while Benson followed with a jump of 7.39-meters (24'-3.00").

In the women's javelin throw, sophomore Hannah Carson broke her own Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex record with a winning throw of 51-.57-meters (169'-2"). Carson entered the week with a season-best and school record throw of 54.03-meters (177'-3") which ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 2 on the NCAA West performance list.

Sophomore Haley Cook continued her strong season in the pole vault, improving upon her season-best from last week with a career-best clearance Saturday of 3.93-meters (12'-10.75").

In the distance events, senior Caitlin Waters improved upon her career-best in the 800-meters, finishing second in 2:07.09 and moving to No. 5 in the Big 12.

 Texas Tech now shifts its focus to the Big 12 Championships set for May 16-18 at the Fuller Track and Field Complex. It will mark the second time Texas Tech has hosted the conference meet, last doing so in 2009.





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